David M. Smith Annual Lecture 2014: Well-Being, Mental Health and the Smiths
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 at 18:00 (GMT)
How should we understand and respond to damaged psyches living in devastated places? The need to take seriously well-being and mental health has recently become part of wider public discussion. However, this often ignores the substantial efforts made by geographers in the 1970s to invigorate a cross-disciplinary concern for well-being. In this lecture, Professor Chris Philo (University of Glasgow), will look at two such pioneers in this field named Smith: David and Chris.
The innovative work of David Smith sought to create a geography of well-being (or ‘welfare geography’), by considering how the material and structural inequalities of wealth and social class shaped levels of well-being for particular people living in particular places. His namesake, Chris Smith, concentrated on positive mental health and introduced the notion of ‘therapeutic communities’ to geographers in the late-1970s/early-1980s. For these scholars, the complex relations between mental ill-health and good mental health were interwoven with a host of spatial and environmental considerations. This lecture will explore these issues in order to look at current mental health agendas (in academic and policy circles) where individualising constructs of ‘happiness’ arguably present a neo-liberal ‘wash’, draining away sensitivity towards – and possible practical responses – those with mental illness and the places they inhabit.
Chris Philo is Professor of Geography in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow. He has published extensively on the historical, cultural and rural geographies of mental ill-health, including his 2004 book, A Geographical History of Institutional Provision for the Insane from Medieval Times to the 1860s in England and Wales: The Space Reserved for Insanity.
When & Where
School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London
The School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London is recognised internationally for its theoretically-informed, empirically-grounded and politically-engaged research. We are recognised as a leading department for geography and environmental science; ranking 5th in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) for our research outputs and 11th overall.
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School of Geography